Magnetic resonance elastography predicts advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a prospective study

Hepatology. 2014 Dec;60(6):1920-8. doi: 10.1002/hep.27362. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Retrospective studies have shown that two-dimensional magnetic resonance elastography (2D-MRE), a novel MR method for assessment of liver stiffness, correlates with advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Prospective data on diagnostic accuracy of 2D-MRE in the detection of advanced fibrosis in NAFLD are needed. The aim of this study is to prospectively assess the diagnostic accuracy of 2D-MRE, a noninvasive imaging biomarker, in predicting advanced fibrosis (stage 3 or 4) in well-characterized patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD. This is a cross-sectional analysis of a prospective study including 117 consecutive patients (56% women) with biopsy-proven NAFLD who underwent a standardized research visit: history, exam, liver biopsy assessment (using the nonalcoholic steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network histological scoring system), and 2D-MRE from 2011 to 2013. The radiologist and pathologist were blinded to clinical and pathology/imaging data, respectively. Receiver operating characteristics (ROCs) were examined to assess the diagnostic test performance of 2D-MRE in predicting advanced fibrosis. The mean (± standard deviation) of age and body mass index was 50.1 (± 13.4) years and 32.4 (± 5.0) kg/m(2), respectively. The median time interval between biopsy and 2D-MRE was 45 days (interquartile range: 50 days). The number of patients with fibrosis stages 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 was 43, 39, 13, 12, and 10, respectively. The area under the ROC curve for 2D-MRE discriminating advanced fibrosis (stage 3-4) from stage 0-2 fibrosis was 0.924 (P < 0.0001). A threshold of >3.63 kPa had a sensitivity of 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.65-0.97), specificity of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.83-0.96), positive predictive value of 0.68 (95% CI: 0.48-0.84), and negative predictive value of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.91-0.99).

Conclusions: MRE is accurate in predicting advanced fibrosis and may be utilized for noninvasive diagnosis of advanced fibrosis in patients with NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Fatty Liver / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies